Natural Park of the Lagoni di Mercurago - Piedmont

Natural Park of the Lagoni di Mercurago - Piedmont


Not far from the center of Arona, on the morainic hills that surround Lake Maggiore on the Piedmont side, in the province of Novara, there is a natural area that includes the Mercurago peat bogs, some pastures dedicated to the breeding of thoroughbred horses and many wooded plots. . Prehistoric settlements dating back to the Bronze Age and some Roman domus have been found in the area. This area has been protected since 1980, when the Lagoni di Mercurago Park was established on popular initiative.

Today the lagoons are managed, together with the Fondotoce Reserves, the Dormelletto reeds, and the Oriented Bosco Solivo Nature Reserve, by the Lake Maggiore Parks Authority.

More information on the Lagoni di Mercurago Natural Park can be found at


Lake Maggiore Parks Authority
Via Gattico 6 - Mercurago di Arona (NO)
Tel. 0322 240239
Fax 0322 237916

Lagoni di Mercurago Natural Park - Piedmont Atlas of Parks and Protected Areas in Italy

Typology: Regional Natural Park established with L.R. May 16, 1980, n. 47.
Piemonte region
Province: Novara

The Lagoni di Mercurago Park protects a series of small lake basins of morainic origin (surface area 473 hectares) located in the municipalities of Arona and Comignago in the province of Novara.

Lagoni di Mercurago Natural Park (photo

Natural Park of the Lagoni di Mercurago - Piedmont

Simone Bertolotti, Marco Saracchi, Edoardo Villa
Management body of the Parks and Natural Reserves of Lake Maggiore

In some protected areas of Piedmont and Lombardy, in recent years there have been intense deaths of dominant specimens of oaks. The deterioration of the oaks consists in a progressive process of vegetative decline of the trees which ends with their death. This phenomenon has been defined: “a complex of complex diseasesв to indicate an etiology deriving from the interaction of many factors, both biotic and abiotic, which act on plants in a synergistic, simultaneous or sequential way.

The Management Body of the Parks and Natural Reserves of Lake Maggiore and the Institute of Plant Pathology of the University of Milan, in 2008, conducted studies with the aim of collecting as many elements as possible to outline a picture of the phytosanitary state of the oak-hornbeam formations of the Park and verify the presence, severity and diffusion of the phenomenon of decay of oaks in the Lagoni di Mercurago natural park.

The Park, established with Regional Law 47/80 and managed by the Management Body of Parks and Natural Reserves of Lake Maggiore, is located close to the southern extremity of Lake Maggiore, in an area of ​​particular naturalistic-environmental value.

The study presented is an update and integration of a previous research conducted as part of an Interreg Interreg III-A Italy-Switzerland Project “Training, management and protection of forest and landscape typologies: impact between anthropic systems and natural geosystems” 1.

From the analysis of the Forest Map of the Parco dei Lagoni, the attention was initially focused exclusively on the areas mapped as oak-hornbeam, from which 27 were selected characterized by considerable extension, uniformity in geographical distribution and representativeness. Within each area a sample area of ​​rectangular surface (approximately 20 X 25 m) was then identified. In the two-year period 2007-2008, for each test area, a total of four survey campaigns were carried out (June and October), in order to better evaluate the development of the foliage. During the inspections, the degree of coverage of the forest was first estimated, as well as that relating only to the foliage of oaks subsequently present, the following elements were monitored:

a) presence of epicormic branches, i.e. emission of branches directly from the stem and main branches (see photo) b) dieback, i.e. death of the apex of the branches and branches c) presence of dead plants standing d) fungal and exudate carpophores on the trunk e) leaf necrosis f) damage caused by defoliating insects g) damage caused by xylophagous insects h) damage caused by past and / or recent meteoric events В To each of the 27 selected areas, using the information collected on the presence of dead oak , epicormic branches and dieback, symptoms considered in the literature to be representative of English oak wasting, a wasting class between 0 and 6 has been assigned, which provides synthetic information on the state of health of the oaks in question and allows the different stations to be compared with each other (see table ) .В In the figure a The quantitative distribution of the test areas is represented as a function of the deterioration class and in the figure b the oak-hornbeam areas are displayed with the corresponding deterioration class.

The lowest value (class 2) of decay was found in the test area n ° 8, a modest area of ​​oak-hornbeam located between a heath area and an artificial pine forest of strobe pine. The less suffering test areas are mostly located towards the eastern border of the Park and concern populations of rather isolated oaks, mainly inserted within extensive chestnut or robini groves in correspondence with moraine bands. The presence of considerable deterioration in the vicinity of the wetlands of the park is also highlighted: the test areas located there are all located in classes 5 and 6, probably due to the unfavorable trend of the thermo-pluviometric regime in recent years, mainly drought, which has consistently reduced the water supply of the soils of these areas generally subject to hydromorphism during periods of maximum rainfall.

The study made it possible to appreciate a state of general and widespread suffering of the forest vegetation throughout the territory of the protected area, with greater intensity near the wetlands. The comparison between the data collected in the two-year period 2007-2008 also highlighted a slight, progressive worsening of the deterioration. This aspect underlines the criticality of the current situation and recommends a further deepening of the knowledge related to the factors predisposing the deterioration, extending the field of research to the characteristics of the soils and to the level of the aquifer, as well as to climatic parameters, atmospheric pollutants and agents pathogens involved in the degenerative process.

The finding of oak decay even within this protected area further underlines the extent of the problem in northern Italy where, up to now, only a few areas investigated have been excluded from the phenomenon.

1 The method and procedures adopted were developed during the 2001-2003 agricultural research project “Diagnostic investigations on the decay of English oak in the Lombard Park of the Ticino Valleyв (DEPFAR).

Lagoni of Mercurago Natural Park

The Lagoni of Mercurago Nature Park, established in 1980, is a natural reserve in Piedmont, located in Mercurago, a hamlet near Arona, consisting of many lakes with swamp vegetation.


Audio guide

  • Piemonte region
  • Novara Province
  • Zip code 28041
  • Population 14279
  • Prefix 0322
  • Coordinates

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When to visit the Parco dei Lagoni di Mercurago

Each season has particular climatic conditions that are reflected in the Park and make the landscape unique: in March anemones bloom, which whiten the undergrowth, in May the locust trees, in summer the forest offers shelter from the heat, in autumn it offers mushrooms and chestnuts and in winter an icy surface where you can have fun with skates. Moreover, in every month of the year, the Park represents the ideal refuge for numerous species of wild and migratory animals.

A curiosity: the Lagoni are the only place in the world where you can find the Crepidotus roseoornatus, a particular species of mushroom discovered in 1983 which evidently found its ideal habitat right here. At Visitor Center, located in Mercurago, a hamlet of Arona, you can find detailed information on the Park in various formats: brochures, magazines, maps, videotapes, an accurate ornithological guide and, of course, the regulations to be respected during the stay in the protected area.

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